Belichick: Butler had 'excellent concentration' on interception
By Doug Kyed
Malcolm Butler lived up to the hype Sunday, when he played like a No. 1 cornerback against the Buffalo Bills.
Butler allowed just one catch for the New England Patriots, a 32-yard touchdown to Robert Woods when he was stuck in no-mans land covering two receivers in a Cover-3 zone. It was a giant improvement for Butler, after he gave up nine catches on 10 targets for 142 yards with a touchdown in Week 1.
Butler’s most notable play Sunday came when he wasn’t even targeted. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick highlighted the play, in which Butler pulled in an interception, on his Patriots.com “Belichick Breakdown” segment.
“Trying to run the option route here to (Charles) Clay,” Belichick said to Scott Zolak. “The ball’s a little bit high, pretty good coverage. Malcolm makes a great play here on the ball, taking the ball right off the top of the turf.”
“There’s not a lot of plays where we actually go down to the ground and make the play (in practice), but this is excellent concentration, awareness and finish on the play by Malcolm.”
Belichick praised Butler throughout the offseason for his improvement on the field and hard work off of it. With Dez Bryant likely out of the Patriots’ Week 5 tilt against the Dallas Cowboys, Butler’s toughest remaining matchups are the Indianapolis Colts’ T.Y. Hilton in Week 6, New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham in Week 10 and Denver Broncos wideout Demaryius Thomas in Week 12.
Butler likely will face off against Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson in Week 3. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound receiver is coming off of a six-catch, 155-yard performance against the Miami Dolphins.
“He’s got good speed, nice size,” Butler said. “He can go up and get the ball. It’s going to come down to technique, fundamentals and doing the best I can — as a unit.”
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